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IWD 2024: Why it’s time for a raise for women in tech
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

The tech industry has long been characterised by rapid innovation and cutting-edge advancements, yet it still has a long way to go when it comes to closing the gender pay gap—a hot topic following the release of new data from the Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) which identified Australia’s national pay gap as 19%. 

While the tech industry is far from the worst offender, the data still showed an above average gap of 22.5% across IT and telecommunication companies, and a larger gap of 26% for professional, scientific, and technical service companies. 

WGEA’s insights are consistent with new survey findings from Indeed, which exposed the tremendous work required to achieve equality in remuneration, career progression, and gender parity in leadership—which is particularly relevant to industries like tech that remain largely male-dominated.

Women currently make up less than a third of Australia’s tech workforce and less than a quarter of the industry’s senior leadership positions. And while many organisations within the industry are making important progress towards gender equality, stereotypes, biases, discriminatory workplace cultures, and a lack of pay transparency persists in far too many companies and continues to hold women back. In fact, 69% of women in tech feel it is easier for men to progress in their careers—with the majority citing sexism or unconscious bias in society as the main reason for this inequality.  

When Indeed asked Australian women whether they thought they were adequately remunerated in their roles, 47% said they don’t believe they are paid fairly—a sentiment shared by 38% of those working in tech. And while Australian women understand the value of their work and want fair compensation, concerningly over half have never asked for a pay rise, with a third saying it’s because they fear there will be negative consequences if they do. 

Both WGEA’s and Indeed’s insights highlight just how broken our system is. A system that favours men with better pay, better roles, and better opportunities effectively tells women they’re not as valued in the workplace. It really is no wonder so many feel disempowered and uncomfortable to ask for fair pay and better career opportunities given the circumstances. 

Employers have an opportunity to rewrite the system and create workplaces that are fair and inclusive of women. An environment where women feel empowered to request the compensation they deserve, confidently and without fear of repercussion, and are supported to progress at the same pace as men. 

This International Women’s Day, let’s ditch the cupcakes and give women what they really need: fair pay for a day’s work, more equitable career progression opportunities, and greater female representation at the leadership level. 

Gender equality is more than just a moral imperative; it is a strategic necessity for the industry to thrive and remain at the forefront of innovation. Diverse teams are better for innovation, productivity, collaboration, well-being, talent attraction and retention, and profit. Organisations that work to remove the barriers women face in the workplace will realise the enormous strategic benefits that a diverse and inclusive workforce brings.